Indonesian language and studies

Indonesia's geographic proximity and strategic importance to Australia make it vital to understand its peoples, politics, history, languages and cultures.

Why Indonesian Studies?

Indonesia's geographic proximity and strategic importance to Australia make it vital to understand its peoples, politics, history, languages and cultures. Indonesia is the most influential member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and as the fourth most populous country in the world (and also its third largest democracy), is an increasingly important force in world affairs.

Indonesia is culturally diverse, comprising hundreds of different ethnic groups and languages with rich literary traditions, spread over thousands of islands. It has the world's largest Muslim-majority population but also includes significant Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities.

The national language of Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia, has made an important contribution to the country's unity. Based on Malay, Indonesian is closely related to the national languages of three other Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore, thus giving access to more than 200 million people on Australia's doorstep.

The skills, knowledge and abilities you acquire in the Indonesian Major include:

  • Skills to communicate effectively in Indonesian in various social and professional contexts
  • Asia literacy - a sound understanding of cultural and social practices in Indonesia
  • Skills to communicate appropriately with people with various cultural backgrounds which enable balanced interpretation of various social and professional practices in the global scene

Why Indonesian Studies at Melbourne?

The Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne hosts one of the premier Indonesian Studies programs in the world. Its experienced staff has decades of in-country expertise. The program provides thorough training in the language and a broad understanding of contemporary Indonesian culture, politics and society. It also offers the University of Melbourne Overseas Subject (UMOS) Analysing Indonesia: Concepts and Issues (INDO20001) in collaboration with Udayana University in Bali.

Expertise in Indonesian Studies can enhance employment opportunities in commerce, education, government and cultural affairs. It can also serve as the foundation for further research in Indonesian post-graduate studies. Students who complete a major in Indonesian should acquire effective oral and written communication skills and develop the research and inquiry skills to examine complex issues from multiple disciplinary perspectives. They also gain knowledge of the social and cultural diversity of the Southeast Asian region and develop the skills to work with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Graduates will have an understanding of the local, national and global issues in the Southeast Asian region and have the capacity to work effectively across disciplines and cultures. They will be able to be leaders in promoting Asian literacy in their workplaces and communities.

How can I study Indonesian Studies?

Undergraduate students can study Indonesian as:

Indonesian can also be studied through:

At the graduate level, Indonesian studies offer courses for:

The Asia Institute offers a range of subjects in Indonesian Language and Studies. Some examples include:

See the full list of subjects in the Handbook

Where can Indonesian Studies take me?

Learning Indonesian can open up many interesting employment opportunities - in Indonesia, and with the many organisations that work with its 260 million citizens, including the Australian Government. Expertise in Indonesian studies can enhance employment opportunities in government, diplomacy, commerce, humanitarian aid, education, and cultural affairs. And with the Australia-Indonesia Free Trade Agreement finalised, fluency in Indonesian and having an intricate appreciation of Indonesian life especially through the prism of its peoples' attitudes and habits vis-a-vis commerce, digital and social media, communication and negotiation and socio-political discourses and trends will be desirable to both government and private sector institutions committed to advancing the neighbouring nations’ economic partnership.